The lure of a dock is enduring. Waves that lap against its wooden form seem to beckon our footsteps out onto its perch in the midst of the waters that it boldly stands within…
Perhaps it is the recollection of my childhood and youth on the dock that stands within the Northport Harbor on Long Island, New York, that grips my memories and brings me to a place of deep contentment. And of the sound of one’s footsteps embarking upon the boards and planks of strength? A sound I yearn for, indeed.
The history of the dock dates back to 4500BC and the Egyptian harbor of Wadi Al-Jarf, off the Red Sea Coast. An enduring structure of history, for certain. The word “Dock” is taken from the middle Dutch word “Dok” and the low German word “Docke”. Defined as a “man-made structure involved in the handling of boats or ships on or close to a shore“, the dock that lures those on foot is continual. A long-lasting lure, indeed. In American English, a dock is referred to as a “pier” or “wharf”. Piers are termed as “structures that extend into the ocean from beaches to accommodate fishing” and “The structure that extends along the shore or out from the shore into the body of water in which boats may be moored”. Of note, the area between the water and the pier is called a “slip”. The terms “Jetty”, “Landing”, “Landing pier” and of course, “Harbor” all denote the boards of strength that jut their form into the waterways of delight.
Whatever the “dock” visually references to you, it is the dock that harbors and berths boats that my recollections linger upon. Recollections flow of boats being guided by the “Harbor Master” to the “berth” (mooring a ship to it’s alloted place). Day and night. The harbor and the life that could be found linked to the “Dock” provided a continual appeal to those of us that were fortunate to be within its locale. The joys of life by the harbor’s edge….
And of the “dock” of my past? The Dock of Northport. My childhood, my youth and my early adult years. Perhaps a personal homage to this pivotal structure that represents my past. Vivid memories I recall on the wooden planks that extended into the Long Island Sound….
And of the copper covered pilons that have turned green, like Lady Liberty’s coating of distinction? Enduring enticement that I will continually recall. Life’s recollections are beautiful…
The lure of the water and the extension to it on the boards of the dock is seasonless. Whether a frozen layer of water beneath its posts or calm waters in the season of sublime weather or the crash of waves on a cool and breezy Fall day, the lure endures. Beckoning us to step upon the surface, in the middle of the ocean, sea, lake or river. The waterfront beckons.
However you approach a dock, no matter the terrain or water source, a moment seized to walk its planks is a moment to appreciate life. If only to stop and take a moment respite, as the natural world surrounds us. Nature paired with a structure of purpose. Jutting out into the waters, standing on planks of great strength, there is a a feeling of freedom and a sudden awareness of life itself. Appreciation of the “Dock” and it’s wooden form that beckons, indeed….